Street Fighter Alpha 3 (known in some countries as Street Fighter Zero 3) is a 2D fighting game developed and released by Capcom for arcades (using the CPS-2 hardware) on June 29, 1998.
The third (and final) main installment of the Street Fighter Alpha trilogy (a spin-off Street Fighter series) and the sequel to Street Fighter Alpha 2, Street Fighter Alpha 3 features six new playable fighters (Blanka, E. Honda, and Vega from Street Fighter II, Cody from Final Fight, Sakura's schoolgirl rival Karin, and Japanese wrestler R. Mika), three new hidden fighters (Balrog from Street Fighter II and elite assassins Juli and Juni), new background stages, completely new music (with a different overarching style), new gameplay mechanics (such as a new throwing system, which is a now a separate button combination, and the "Guard Crush" system, which leaves players vulnerable if they block too much), and a new system of "fighting styles" (replacing the "Normal/Auto" system with three unique fighting styles, called "Isms", each with their own special abilities and traits).
The game received numerous ports and updates since its first release, adding eight playable fighters (for a grand total of 36) and new game modes (most notably the World Tour mode, which allows players to build up their character in a single-player campaign). It is one of the few arcade games to receive multiple arcade versions on completely different hardware (CPS-2 and NAOMI).
The game uses the standard Street Fighter control scheme featuring three kicks and three punches of varying strength and a joystick for movement and blocking. Special and super moves are performed by inputing specific combinations of attack buttons and joystick motions. The game also includes some basic recovery moves and some counters performed by precisely timed button presses and joystick motions.
Moving away from the "Normal" and "Auto" player modes, Street Fighter Alpha 3 introduced multiple fighting styles (called "Isms") for the player to choose from, each including their own Super Gauge system, special abilities, color schemes, and traits:
Returning from previous Street Fighter Alpha games, A-ism gives players a green three-level super gauge. Players with A-ism have the most options for Super Combos (including powerful Max Super Combos which take up the entire super gauge).
Unlike previous games in the series, in which the level of the Super Combo is determined by the number of punch/kick buttons pressed, Street Fighter Alpha 3 allows players to determine which level of Super Combo to use based on the strength of the button pressed (Light for one level, Medium for two levels, and Heavy for all three levels).
Based on the Custom Combo system used in Street Fighter Alpha 2, V-ism gives players a simple blue super gauge (with a percentage indicator). While players cannot perform any Super Combo in this style, they can perform a Custom Combo by pressing two attack buttons of the same strength simultaneously (once they have at least 50% of their super gauge filled). While the Custom Combo is activated, players can perform a long sequence of quick combo chains (even if the opponent is being knocked down) as the super gauge depletes. The character leaves a shadow trail as Custom Combo is used (the gap between them being determined by the strength used to activate Custom Combo), with the last shadow's attack dealing additional damage. If the player is attacked while their Custom Combo is activated, it is disabled and the player loses up to 50% of their super gauge.
While attacks dealt in V-ism deal less damage (and Alpha Counters take up 50% of the super gauge), players can determine the range of their attacks (Far Attacks vs. Close Attacks, usually determined by the distance between them and their opponent) based on the position of the joystick (creating some new mind-game opportunities and combo choices).
Similar to the system used in Super Street Fighter II Turbo, X-ism gives players a simple red super gauge. While they have less technical ability (such as being able to perform Air Blocks, Recovery Rolls, Alpha Counters, and Taunts) and less Super Combo options, as well as taking slightly more damage from attacks, players with X-ism can deal more damage from their attacks and can withstand more blocked attacks before getting Guard Crushed.
Some direct changes to characters include changing Chun-Li's costume (to resemble her Street Fighter II appearance), Sodom's weapon (to a pair of katanas), Ryu's fireballs (to resemble the Street Fighter II version), and Gen's multiple styles (to one simple combination of both). Other characters have movelists changed to resemble their SSF2T counterparts (such as changing M. Bison's Psycho Shot projectile to the traditional Psycho Crusher attack and removing Ryu's fake fireball motion).
The Final Boss version of M. Bison has a modified version of X-ism which gives him access to all technical abilities and Super Combo options in addition to his X-ism bonuses.
In addition to the "Ism" system, players can use a cheat code prior to selecting a fighting style to get a secret modifier:
- Mazi - Damage taken and inflicted are increased. Cannot lose a single round.
- Saikyo - Attacks inflict less damage. Much easier to get dizzied and Guard Crushed. Cannot perform basic combos.
- Classic - Always use X-ism. Super Gauge, Super Combos, and Air Recovery disabled. Cannot be Guard Crushed.
World Tour (Console)
In World Tour mode a player chooses a fighter and then levels up the fighter by winning stages set in different countries around a virtual map. Each spot on the map has different rules and different opponents for the player to overcome. After completing a stage a character earns experience points based on how well they performed in the stage. For instance, if a character were to perfect a fight he would gain more experience than if they ended the round with a sliver of health remaining. The character advances in level in two separate areas their overall level and their level in a specific "-ism". Every few levels a character receives bonus skills that allow for super meter regeneration or other nice additions. Depending on which of the three "-isms" the character has equipped they gain different skills that help boost their selected fighting style. A character also gains points that can be applied to raise offensive power or defensive power. However, for every point added there is also a point removed from the opposite stat. Advancing to the end of world tour mode unlocks Guile, Evil Ryu, and Shin Akuma as playable characters.
Updates & Ports
Since its original arcade release, the game received numerous updates on its home console versions (with some serving as the basis for an upgraded arcade port):
- The game was first ported to the PlayStation on December 23, 1998 (in Japan) and April 30, 1999 (in North America), adding four new playable fighters (Dee Jay, Fei Long, Guile, and T. Hawk, completing the cast of Street Fighter II), three unlockable variations (including Evil Ryu and Shin Akuma), and a new World Tour mode (in which players strengthen their character by leveling them up and granting them special buffs in a single-player campaign). The Japanese version also had use with the PocketStation. This port was digitally re-released for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable (both via PlayStation Network) on October 18, 2011 (in North America) and December 3, 2014 (in Japan).
- The PS1 version was later updated in a port to the Dreamcast on July 8, 1999 (in Japan as Street Fighter Zero 3: Saiko-ryu Dojo) and May 31, 2000 (in North America), changing its World Tour mode (and methods for unlocking some secret characters) while adding a new Saikyo Dojo mode (in which players download powerful AI opponents to fight with their World Tour characters and post the results online). A special mail-order version (titled Street Fighter Zero 3: Saiko-ryu Dojo for Matching Service) was released for Japan in 2001, adding online multiplayer.
- A separate update for the PlayStation version was the basis for a port to the Saturn (in Japan only) on August 6, 1999, changing the methods for unlocking some secret characters while revamping the Dramatic Battle mode.
- The Dreamcast version was used as the basis for Street Fighter Zero 3 Upper, a 2001 Japan-exclusive arcade port for the NAOMI hardware. Along with the added characters, this version allowed players to import their World Tour characters through a special VMU slot (in similar vein to the Japanese version of Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes).
- The game was ported by Crawfish to the Game Boy Advance on September 27, 2002 (in Japan) and December 1, 2002 (in North America). Stylized in-game as Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper (but released as Street Fighter Zero 3 Upper in Japan), this version includes all characters from the previous console versions and three new unlockable characters (Eagle, Maki, and Yun, all based on their Capcom Vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium appearances). However, the game does not include any bonus game modes added in previous console versions.
- The DC version was later updated in a port to the PlayStation Portable on January 19, 2006 (in Japan as Street Fighter Zero 3 Double Upper) and February 7, 2006 (in North America as Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX). Along with a variety of game modes (including various online multiplayer modes, and a new "Vs. 100 Kumite" mode) and the three additional characters from the GBA version (already unlocked), this version includes Ingrid from Capcom Fighting Evolution.
- Both arcade versions (the "Alpha 3 Upper" version as a secret unlockable) are included in the Street Fighter Alpha Anthology compilation (released on June 13, 2006 for the PlayStation 2). In addition, the compilation has a secret unlockable "Hyper Street Fighter Alpha" game based on Street Fighter Alpha 3 (where players can pick earlier versions of characters for versus matches, including secret fighting modes loosely based on other Capcom fighting games).
The game's original roster includes 28 playable fighters, nine of which are new additions. Four of them are brand new characters (Karin, R. Mika, Juli, and Juni), while three of them are hidden opponents playable with a cheat code (Balrog, Juli, and Juni).
The console and Street Fighter Zero 3 Upper versions of the game added the remaining four characters from the Street Fighter II series (totaling at 32 playable fighters) and two character variations (Evil Ryu and Shin Akuma). The GBA version adds three additional unlockable fighters from Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium while the PSP version adds Ingrid from Capcom Fighting Evolution (bringing the total roster to 36).
Because of the X-ism fighting style, there are no longer hidden Super Street Fighter II Turbo variants for some characters. Other than Evil Ryu and Shin Akuma, Balrog has a hidden unlockable variation in the console versions while M. Bison has a "Final" variation used as the game's final boss (unplayable in the arcade version, unlocked in most console versions).
- R. Mika
- Cody (from Final Fight)
- Blanka (from Street Fighter II)
- E. Honda (from Street Fighter II)
- Vega (from Street Fighter II, Balrog in the Japanese versions)
- Juli (sub-boss playable with a cheat code, fully unlocked in the updated versions)
- Juni (sub-boss playable with a cheat code, fully unlocked in the updated versions)
- Balrog (from Street Fighter II, M. Bison in the Japanese versions, sub-boss playable with a cheat code, fully unlocked alongside a hidden variation in the updated versions)
- Dee Jay (from Super Street Fighter II, added in the updated versions)
- Fei Long (from Super Street Fighter II, added in the updated versions)
- T. Hawk (from Super Street Fighter II, added in the updated versions)
- Guile (from Street Fighter II, added in the updated versions, must be unlocked in the PS1 and GBA versions)
- Eagle (from Street Fighter, added in the GBA and PSP versions, must be unlocked in the GBA version)
- Maki (from Final Fight 2, added in the GBA and PSP versions, must be unlocked in the GBA version)
- Yun (from Street Fighter III, added in the GBA and PSP versions, must be unlocked in the GBA version)
- Ingrid (from Capcom Fighting Evolution, added in the PSP version)